Nostalgia - Your Favorite Rig of All Time (and Why)

cpfinlay

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Back in the mid 1980s I lived in a high-rise in downtown Houston. Being 240' in the air, I wanted to try 2m SSB. I bought a 3 element yagi and mounted it on a tripod. A very short coax led to the back end of a 25w to 100w amplifier which was connected to my Kenwood TR-751a. I have many fond memories of working a guy up in a construction crane in San Antonio every day. In 2014, I was on 2m SSB and talking about those days with someone and they reached out via (via 2m SSB) to a couple of retired crane operators and they both remembered me. One of them was the same guy I chatted with back in the mid 1980s!

I also recall working a huge band opening one day... the entire Gulf of Mexico region was wide open with very strong signals from Florida to my location in Houston. The Kenwood TR-751a was a wonderful radio. It had a hot receiver and a real meter. A big tuning knob in the middle set it further apart from the FM-only radios. Fun times.

Here's an old picture with scanners, Commodore 64 and the Kenwood TR-751a. I wish I still had that radio!! :love:

88748

88749
 

jaspence

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Regency HX1000. First scanner I owned that didn't need crystals. Great to travel with and easy to program in the analog only days. Ended up costing me $$$ when I got better rigs and my ham ticket, but well worth the time and expense. Present equipment includes a collection of around 70 scanners, ham HTs and a few commercial HTs plus several mobile and two base stations.
 

hamstang

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Yaesu FT-990. My first new HF rig, cost about $1800 from Texas Towers during the mid 1990's. Sold it in 2009 to help raise downpayment for a house. The 990 had a great receiver, and the built in antenna tuner would tune anything.FT990.JPG
 

cpfinlay

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I would vote for the TM-721A with the RC-10 HHCH. At 12, when I first saw it, I thought it was a cellular (CAR) telephone that was also an ultimate dual bander.
I had the TM-721 as well!! Loved the color display! Didn't have that cool handset, though.
 

W8WCA

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The Kenwood TS-850!

And sad to say that is one Rig/Radio I never took a photo of!

Miss it and it was a GREAT Rx too!
 

cmjonesinc

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Mine is a bit more modern than some. I've had a bunch of radios and sold a a bunch over the years but one I've never turned loose of is my ICOM IC-V8000. I know there are radios out there with more features and that are probably nicer but this thing has been a workhorse since I got it and it has never let me down. As far as 2 meter mobiles go it is my favorite I've ever had. My second choice would be my 706 mkii, but I let it go a few years ago to buy a Motorola. Have since sold the moto and regretted parting with that 706 multiple times.
 

AK9R

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Yaesu FT-23R 2m handheld. 10 channels. Quirky to program. I eventually bought an FT-33R (220 MHz version) and an FT-73R (440 MHz version) to go with the FT-23R. Then an FT-411. Then an FT-470. Then....
 

WA8ZTZ

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2 meter AM: Heath "Twoer" aka "Benton Harbor lunchbox"
2 meter FM: tie... Kenwood TR-7400A and Icom IC-2A
HF: Icom IC-720A
Why? Because they were simple to operate... no PITA menus.
 

fasteddy64

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Jun 28, 2005
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Drake B-line twins. I had the entire station, except for the amp.
Had the 6 and 2 meter converters, had the tuner, had the station console and had the FS-4 frequency synthesizer which it cover all freqs from 1.5 mhz thru 29.999. Nicest station I have ever owned.
 

W8WCA

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Drake B-line twins. I had the entire station, except for the amp.
Had the 6 and 2 meter converters, had the tuner, had the station console and had the FS-4 frequency synthesizer which it cover all freqs from 1.5 mhz thru 29.999. Nicest station I have ever owned.
I had set of C line (4) w FS4

I think the R4C Fs4 were almost as good as a R7 I had
 

jim202

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Maybe I am just an old time die hard that likes radios built like a tank. There are several radios that come to mind. I guess the one I like to wrap my arms around the most is the Motorola Syntor X9000. It came in basically 3 flavors. Low band, VHF and UHF. The UHF versions are a tad few and far between, but the low band is the most common and then the VHF model. I happen to have all 3 versions in my stock and installed.

The low band will actually spread from the 10 meter FM band all the way up into the 6 Meter FM band. The best part is you don't need to tune it at all except the VCO. You can get 100 watts out on both bands. I choose to crank the power down to 85 watts and be able to talk as long as I please. Just have to release the PTT button now and then when the time out timer I set complains and shuts off the transmitter, reminding me I need to un-key and key back up to continue talking.

All 3 models have good receiver sensitivity. There are several control heads you can use and set the programmable buttons to do just about what you want.

You can change out the memory chip and expand the number of channels the radio can have. There is a jumper to tell the radio the size of memory chip you install. Some control heads may have a jumper also for the number of channels. Other heads with the soldered in memory chips are already able to use the max channels (modes). It also lets you be able to program a selection of all 32 transmit PL tones. This way you can make the radio just about a dial a frequency radio. It will also let you have zones. So as you drive around to different areas, you can select the zone of frequencies for that area. This is not model restricted.

The big problem in the low band version of the radio if you put both 10 and 6 meters in it is the antenna. There are very few antennas available that will do both ham bands.

One word of caution here is there is a Motorola Syntor, without the X9000 after the name. This radio has the same construction and same boards in it except the control board. It used a one time PROM that you used to program the radio. There is a company that has made a plug in board to replace the PROM board to allow computer electronic programming of this model radio.

My next selection of radios is the Motorola Spectra. I find for wide band use, these are great for ham use. They are a little lighter and smaller in the 100 watt versions. They came in several power selections. Even had a dash mount version. All the ones I have seen for ham use are the VHF and UHF models.

I do have several of the large Yaesu HF base station use for ham use. They are fine radios.

They last selection of radios I like is the Motorola XTL2500 and XTL5000 mobiles. These can be programmed for the VHF and UHF ham frequencies. If you need wide band operation, you will probably need to get with Motorola and arrange for a wide band file from Motorola to be able to program the radio wide band.
 

k7ng

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Favorites...
On VHF: +1 for the TR-751A. I had one, and to this day, I have never known a VHF radio with a hotter frontend than the 751a. And in a small radio like that, having SSB along with FM opened a whole new world of weak-signal VHF for me. The fascination hasn't worn off yet.

HF: I used radios of about every brand name anyone remembers at one time or another.
My favorite receiver has to be a tossup between a Hammarlund HQ-170 and a National SP-600. In the case of the HQ-170, there might have been better performers in production at the same time but the Hammarlund just agreed with me. I'm restoring one now, just because.
Transmitter, probably the Hallicrafters HT-37. Great big heavy thing with enough space under the cover to keep a toolkit (not that I did that). But superb audio, very stable VFO.
Transceiver, even though it wasn't necessarily a superior performer, I still fondly remember my National NCX-5. It was... pretty.
 

mikewazowski

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TS450SAT. Great little rig that I had a lot of fun with.

Ended up replacing it with an ICOM 706MKIIG that I never was fond of. Too many layered menus to get where I needed to be.

Ended up selling it and picked up a TS950S.

Still have my original HW8 and a Johnson Viking Challenger.
 
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